Free…perhaps no single word has been more over used in Sun City’s history when it comes to drawing crowds. It’s like a right of passage; Sun Citian’s have come to expect shows and events to be totally free or at worst, very inexpensive. Webb built and sold Sun City on that premise. Heck, we have original ad campaigns from the 60’s with the idea of living in a resort style setting for just a “nickel a day.”
Just as an example is the photo above from 1975 when Lawrence Welk filled the Sun Bowl Amphitheatre with some 7000 strong. From its earliest beginnings, the venue brought star-studded shows to residents and potential buyers. Webb’s Las Vegas connections provided an endless pipeline of talent that helped sell the community as the perfect way to live. Obviously those coming down for the Stay and Play package always found the free shows just one more great reason to buy in Sun City (John Meeker claims better than 50% of the 27,000 Sun City homes were sold to people who took advantage of that program).
I won’t bore you with 50 years of the free shows in Sun City, suffice to say, there has been plenty of show stoppers and a fair share of clunkers along the way. While some of the more recent boomer buyers regret they haven’t seen the likes of the Rolling Stones or other like-minded aging rockers, some of the shows are being to be geared to a younger crowd.
For example, last week about 3000 folks turned out to watch/hear the Double Grande Piano’s. They were exceptional and appealed to literally all ages. This Sunday night at 5:30 pm the Chordette’s will be playing at the Sun Bowl. Obviously, it isn’t the originals (given several of them have died), but this all girl group will bring back the original’s moldie oldies with fun and flair; including Mr Sandman and My Boy Lollipop. At least for me, they have to be way better than a Lawrence Welk Tribute band (is there such a thing?).
The point is, Sun City is still going and growing strong. There’s not much better than being under the stars in gorgeous fall weather in the West Valley and in the open air theatre called the Sun Bowl. Best of all is, it’s all still FREE!